Food Habits of the Elderly

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Topic : Food habits of the Elderly
Definition of foodways : it “...generally refers to ways in which a distinct group selects, prepares, consumes and otherwise reacts to and uses portions of the available food supply” (Wahlqvist et al., 1991:164) Objectives:

* Analysis of the meaning of foodways for social actors in general * Significance of food for the elderly (migrants )focusing on their marginalized social location * Implication of foodways of the elderly

* Meaning of the dominant medical system and dietary guideline : State hegemony over individual social actors Principal arguments:
* For the elderly, food plays an especially important role for their autonomy and independence and inclusion in society in general

Control over food purchasing and consumption “can become a major concern for older people as symbolic of independent living” (McKie, Linda p. 529, 1999).

“The purchasing, preparation and serving of food all require a certain degree of physical strength and mental vitality on the part of the person responsible. Not surprisingly, elderly people are all more likely to lack such abilities as a result of illness” (Van Eeuwijk, Peter 2007)

Joint daily meals serve as “important arenas of social interaction and information sources” for the elderly (Van Eeuwijk, Peter 2007).

“Involvement in social networks through shopping and food activities was of positive benefit to their well-being” (McKie, Linda p. 533, 1999)

* Different levels of access to food resources can shed light on the existing power structure in a larger context in the society : Depending on the age, gender, race or ethnicity, class, etc, individuals will have different level of access to food.

Hunger is the absolute sign of powerlessness (Counihan, qtd in Van Eeuwijk, 2007)

* Food can serve as an instrument for exerting power and control * Majority of the elderly might prefer more traditional food instead of ready-made products or western style food * Does being elderly mean that they have special dietary needs? It is necessary to re-consider the dominant medical system and dietary guideline as a mechanism of exercising state hegemony over individual social actors.

Structure:
* Introduction about the dynamic relationship between food and identity * Food as an instrument for exerting power and control
* Food insecurity of the elderly
* Implication of food habits of migrant elderly ?
Literature:
Summary 1.
Peter van Eeuwijk, « The power of food: mediating social relationships in the care of chronically ill elderly people in urban Indonesia », Anthropology of food [Online], S3 | December 2007, Online since 21 March 2008, connection on 08 January 2013. URL : http://aof.revues.org/2052 * Meaning of food : Source for coherence and identity

* Access to food is unequal for each individual and food can work as an instrument for
manifesting and exerting power.
. Power relation between caregiver and the sick elderly
Those who receives more support and care exert less power * Severe problem of malnutrition of the elderly
“Many older people do not have access even to the most basic need of all – food”
(HelpAge International, 2002:24, qtd. in Van Eeuwijk)
.Causes of the malnutrition are poverty, social exclusion, ill health, disability, unequal
gender relations and the elderly’s marginalized position as net consumer in household according to Van Eeuwijk
.Even expression of complain about the food reflects gender-specific aspect of power
Male elderly complains more often than female elderly
* Household Production of Health : Emphasizing the Role of the household in providing nutrition required for the care of the elderly sick * Information on study design (chapter 15)
* Importance of the preparation of food in Elder care activities * Dependence on others for the need of food is a source of feeling of shame for some...
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